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roly’s model railways

Z Gauge

Marklin track. Analogue control.

78.5cm x 59cm. Sundeala.


Urmycia, an imaginary Welsh conclave in South America modelled in Z scale.

In the 1850s Welsh Nationalist Michael D. Jones who lived at Bodiwan (now Bodiwan Guest House) in Bala, North Wales was annoyed that the English wouldn’t allow the Welsh language to be used or taught in schools. He called together a number of other nationalists and in 1865 about 200 (161) compatriots emigrated 7,500 miles away to Argentina in South America and set up a Welsh conclave which still exists today. It became the town of Gaiman in the Chubut province of Patagonia. In 1908 the Central Chubut Railway connected it to Trelew, a major city also founded by the Welsh colonists. This Welsh colonisation and settlement of Argentina was known as Y Wladfa.

The layout is based on the conceit that another group of similarly-minded Welsh people emigrated a little later and set up a separate colony which they called Urmycia. The colony is on the coast and the townships are connected by rail, road and canal. There are three stations, Alaby, Rhigarwor and Ytybsy Halt. Unlike Gaiman which is largely barren, Urmycia is more like Snowdonia with lakes, mountains and rivers. German Railways (Deutsche Bahn) were contracted to provide rail facilities in the region and trains are mostly made up of retired stock from that organisation.

 Name Origination – mostly are backwards spellings of actual places.:

Urmycia - Cymru [= Wales]

Alaby – y Bala, a town on the Eastern edge of Snowdonia

Rhigarwor – Rhiwargor, a small hamlet just north of Lake Vyrnwy

Ytybsy Halt – Cefn Tre-ysbyty , a mountain or large hill on the western shore of Lake Vyrnwy

As the layout is used in a 6m motorhome it is necessarily restricted in size and is 78.5 x 59cm and 15cm high. Weight is also an issue as this is a road vehicle and must not be overloaded. Originally it was built on a commercially-available noticeboard but has subsequently been transferred onto similarly-sized Sundeala and sides and a top cover has been added. It lives between the seats under a removable table.

The layout is constructed from Marklin track with mostly Marklin stock. The exception is the railbus from Alaby to Ytybsy which is the motor section of a Japanese 6-car train with the pantograph removed. The track is laid on foam underlay to reduce running noise in such a confined space.

Buildings (and boats) are from downloaded ScaleScenes kits. Some other buildings were downloaded from Wordsworth Model Railways and Smart Models.

Scenery is built up from polystyrene tiles covered with ModRoc and various grass scenic powders.

Electrics started off with a couple of Marklin controllers but these have now been replaced with a custom-built control panel, multiple transformers and two 1.5A PWA walk-around throttles from Sympatico in Canada. All points and uncouplers are electrically operated. The layout was developed using AnyRail software.

Urmycia is currently being evaluated for conversion to DCC and should be available from January 2019